Ofsted’s chief inspector Christine Gilbert will not be renewing her contract when it expires in 2011 and she has indicated she might be prepared to leave her post earlier if it would be “helpful” to the government.
The move follows rumours in national newspapers that education secretary Michael Gove has asked Gilbert to leave before her contract expires in 2011.
In a statement, Ofsted chairman Zenna Atkins said: “While Christine has already indicated to the secretary of state that she will not be seeking to renew her term as HMCI when the current contract ends, she has no plans to leave before that date. Christine has made it clear to me that if it would be helpful for the new chief inspector to take over earlier in 2011, she would be happy to discuss that further.”
Atkins confirmed that Gilbert was happy to continue working with the new government and it was “crucial” that she continue to ensure that Ofsted met its statutory duties.
Gilbert’s leadership has been consistently criticised, particularly over the bureaucratic nature of inspections and the poor relations between the watchdog and Directors of Children’s Services (DCS).
She came under increased scrutiny during the Sharon Shoesmith case earlier this year when it was revealed that she made damaging remarks about the former Haringey DCS to Balls privately when submitting an emergency joint area review following the Baby P court case.